CRCWSC Management Biographies

CRCWSC Executive

Professor Tony Wong, Chief Executive Officer

Professor Tony Wong is internationally recognised for his research and practice in sustainable urban water management, particularly water sensitive urban design. His expertise has been gained through national and international consulting, research, and academia. He has led a large number of award-winning urban design projects.

He received the prestigious Sir John Holland Award as Australia’s Civil Engineer of the Year in 2010, and was cited as having defined "a new paradigm for the design of urban environments that blends creativity with technical and scientific rigour”.


Ben Furmage, Chief Operations and Finance Officer

Ben Furmage, formerly General Manager, Customer and Strategy at Melbourne Water, joined the CRCWSC on a four-month secondment in mid-January as the interim COO and in June 2017 was appointed its Chief Operating and Finance Officer (COFO).

In his past role at Melbourne Water, Ben was responsible for setting the organisation’s high level strategic direction, overseeing community engagement, and improving customer service. Ben has provided executive leadership to a range of functions across Melbourne Water including water resource and infrastructure planning, utility regulation, public affairs, sustainability, innovation, customer service, research, and development. As a member of Melbourne Water’s executive leadership team since 2008, Ben has led large scale organisational change and industry reform programs. Ben is also an active contributor to the Water Services Association of Australia and VicWater.

Prior to joining Melbourne Water, Ben worked with the National Competition Council, the Productivity Commission, and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics. Ben has an honours degree in Economics, a Masters of Business Administration, and has recently completed the Executive Fellows Program at the Harvard Kennedy School.


Professor Jurg Keller, Chief Research Officer

Professor Jurg Keller is a Fellow of the International Water Association (IWA) and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences  and Engineering (ATSE). He was the founding director of the University of Queensland's Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC) and is currently its Deputy Director ­– Research.

Under his leadership, the AWMC has developed into an international centre of excellence in innovative water technology and management. Professor Keller has over two decades of experience in water industry research, particularly in biological wastewater treatment, environmental biotechnology, microbial fuel cells, water recycling, and resource recovery. He combines cutting-edge research and development activities with effective industry-relevant collaboration. 

Professor Keller’s research projects include:

  • Development of the H-DOC Biosensor for Characterisation of Activated Sludge Kinetics & Wastewater Composition;
  • Development and understanding of an effective nitritation process; and 
  • Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal (EBPR): Optimisation through Process Analysis & Operational Improvements.


  • Doctor of Science Technology, ETH Zurich.
  • Diplom Chemie Lugenieur, ETH Zurich.


Barry Ball, Research Adoption Executive

Barry Ball was a foundation Director of the CRCWSC Board and resigned in September 2014 to join the Executive team. He was previously the Deputy Director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland. In the course of his 45-year career, Barry has worked in both state and local government, predominately in the water sector. His most recent roles in Brisbane City Council were Manager - Strategic Planning, and Manager - Water Resources Branch.

Some of Barry’s recent achievements include the establishment of the Healthy Waterways Partnership, an integrated “whole of water” strategy for the South East Queensland region, and the development and implementation of the Drought Strategy for Brisbane. Barry was a member of both the Queensland Urban Utilities Board and the Environment Professional Advisory Board at Griffith University. He has held positions on the Urban Water Advisory Committee for the National Water Commission, and Board positions on the CRCs for Catchment Hydrology and Coastal Zone. In 2010 Barry was awarded an Australian Public Service Medal for his achievements in water policy.


CRCWSC  Senior Management

Doctor Sandra Hall, Regional Executive Director - Eastern Region (QLD, NSW, ACT)

Dr Sandra Hall has a background in Microbial Ecology. After being awarded her PhD in Environmental Biotechnology in 2003, she worked as a Research Officer and became an expert in Molecular Tools. In 2004, Sandra was seconded from the University of Queensland's  Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC) to be Education and Training Coordinator at the Environmental Biotechnology Cooperative Research Centre. In 2008, Dr Hall accepted a position with the AWMC as the Communications and Training Officer with a 50% secondment at the International Society for Microbial Ecology as their event coordinator. Sandra is now managing the AWMC portfolios of Business Development, Engagement, Advancement, Marketing, Communications and Training. She also has a 50% secondment to the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities to manage their presence in Queensland, New South Wales, and Australian Capital Territory.


Jamie Ewert, Regional Executive Director - Southern Region

Jamie joins the CRCWSC from Melbourne Water Corporation, Victoria where he sits within the Integrated Planning Group. He heads the Research Synthesis portfolio.

With more than 18 years' experience in the water sector in urban and rural water management roles across Victoria and New South Wales, Jamie’s background includes catchment management, environmental flows, and most recently, integrated water management in the urban water sector. He has held leadership, technical, policy, planning and engagement roles, developing a range of skills including technical management, collaboration, and engagement.

Jamie has extensive experience in collaborative research projects and is a member of the International Water Association’s Cities of the Future working group.


Professor Anas Ghadouani, Regional Executive Director - Western Region

Professor Anas Ghadouani's role includes both operation and scientific leadership. He also coordinates of the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities (CRCWSC) activities within the University of Western Australia, and manages the relationships with Western Australian CRCWSC industry partners. 

Anas is a Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Western Australia. He leads the successful research group  Aquatic Ecology and Ecosystem Studies, focused on the study of a range of topics in water resources (water and wastewater), ecological engineering, and environmental engineering, with an emphasis on the development of innovative technologies. Anas  has more than twenty years' of research and teaching experience in the water field, and has led numerous large scale multidisciplinary projects nationally and internationally. He is an expert advisor to a number of organisations and agencies in Australia and Internationally. He has also been an editor for the Hydrology and Earth System Sciences journal since 2005.  

Anas grew up in Rabat, Morocco, and completed his MSc at Mohamed V University, before moving to Montreal, Canada to complete his MSc and PhD in limnology and water resources.


Chris Chesterfield, Executive Director Stakeholder Engagement

Chris Chesterfield has a background in biology and philosophy. Over the past 20 years, he has held various technical and management roles in the Department of Water Resources, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Office of Living Victoria, Parks Victoria, and Melbourne Water. He is the Executive Director of Stakeholder Engagement at the CRCWSC, and has also held several other roles outside of the CRCWSC, including Chair of the Yarra River Protection Ministerial Advisory Committee, and Commissioner with the Victorian Environmental Water Holder.

Chris has played a significant role in the management of Victoria’s waterways and is a widely recognised champion of sustainable water management and water sensitive urban design.


Professor Darryl Low Choy, Program Leader Water Sensitive Urbanism (Program B)

Professor Darryl Low Choy is Professor of Environmental and Landscape Planning and former Head of Discipline (Planning) in the School of Environment, Griffith University, Australia. In 2014 he was awarded a Visiting Professorship for Senior International Scientists of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Professor Low Choy's current research is focused on growth management for developing regions, values-led planning and indigenous landscape values, resilience and peri-urbanisation of the landscape; climate change adaptation for human settlements, planning for natural resource management and invasive species management, design of water sensitive cities, strategic post-disaster recovery, and the relationship between science and planning.

Professor Low Choy was the project leader for the former Coastal CRC's Environmental Planning and Natural Resource Management initiative (2000 - 2007).  He successfully co-led the “Change and Continuity” project, a major national study examining peri-urbanisation in rapidly growing regions (2007 - 2009).  He led the Climate Change Adaptation for Human Settlements team on the SEQ Climate Adaptation Research Initiative (2010 - 2012).  He has led research related to planning for Indigenous communities, including an ARC grant looking at the incorporation of indigenous landscape values into regional planning processes, and an NCCARF grant examining Indigenous climate change adaptation in urban and peri-urban communities.

Currently Professor Low Choy is leading the planning team of the Research Consortium for the East Coast Cluster as part of the Australian Government’s Natural Resource Management Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Research Grants Program (Stream 2).

As a member of the CRCWSC he is leading research into catchment scale landscape planning for water sensitive cities in an age of climate change. He is also co-leader of the CRCWSC's Water Sensitive Urbanism Program (Program B).

Professor Low Choy is a member of the socio-economic program in the CRC for Invasive Animals researching challenges of invasive animal management in peri-urban landscapes under the title: “Enabling Effective Community Led Action”. He is leading an ARC Discovery project with Australian and Chinese colleagues researching the management of environmental change through planning for transformative pathways. He is co-leading an ARC linkage research project with Indigenous partners seeking to understand contemporary Australian Aboriginal connections to Country, particularly when they live off Country.

Professor Low Choy has extensive industry experience as a practicing planner before and during his academic career.  He has completed a number of major secondments to state government planning initiatives, including the Queensland Government’s SEQ Regional Plan. He is a qualified town planner and serves on a number of state and national government boards dealing with environmental planning and natural resource management matters.


Professor Nigel Tapper, Program Leader Water Sensitive Urbanism (Program B)

Professor Tapper holds a Personal Chair in Environmental Science at Monash University where he leads the Climate Research Group within the Monash Weather and Climate Program. He is also a Program Leader in the CRCWSC and an Associate Director of the Monash Water for Liveability Centre.

Within the CRCWSC, the  Water Sensitive Urbanism Program (Program B) undertakes fundamental work on heat, health, thermal comfort, and the performance of different elements of water sensitive urban design. Its aim is to improve urban climates, creating more liveable cities in the face of climate change.

Outside of the CRCWSC Nigel also has research interests in fire climatology and surface‑atmosphere interactions.


Professor Zhigo Yuan, Program Leader Future Technologies (Program C)

Professor Zhiguo Yuan is the  Future Technologies Program Leader (Program C). He was awarded a PhD in aeronautical engineering by Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China, in 1992. He shifted research direction to wastewater management in 1994, when he took up a postdoctoral research fellow position at Ghent University, Belgium. He joined the Advanced Water Management Centre at the University of Queensland in 1998, and is currently its Director.

Specialising in environmental engineering and biotechnology, Professor Yuan’s core skills include mathematical modelling (both process and metabolic), process optimisation (including process control), and project leadership. He has won over $25 million in competitive research funding since 2001, including 17 ARC Discovery and Linkage grants as Chief Investigator. He has over 250 Science Citation Index publications, including articles in Science and Nature. His h-index is 52 (Scopus, June 2016), with over 7000 citations at this time.

His research achievements and leadership have been recognised through national and international awards; the most recent being the 2015 ATSE Clunies Award, and the International Water Association (IWA) 2014 Global Project Innovation Award (Applied Research Category) as Project Leader. Professor Yuan is an IWA Fellow and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE). He was named as one of Engineers Australia’s Top 100 Most Influential Engineers in 2015.


Last updated: 14th Jun 2016